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BOK International UAE Embraces iMAL Islamic Core Banking System

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Path Solutions, the market leading provider of Islamic financial software solutions and services, announced today that Bank of Khartoum Group signed a license to acquire the new ground-breaking version of iMAL Islamic core banking system for its newly established branch in the United Arab Emirates – BOK International UAE.

iMAL latest version offers an advanced and agile banking platform carrying many technical and functional refinements that would bridge the fintech gap.

With this further investment in Path Solutions, BOK Group will have the best solution available in the market to meet its international expansion plans.

The latest version of iMAL, which was selected over international competitors’ systems, will deliver competitive edge to BOK International UAE bringing real benefits to the bank’s customers – particularly in areas like Sharia and regulatory compliance, customer service management, Islamic investment, asset management, trade and project finance, and international money transfers.

BOK International UAE is a fully-owned subsidiary of Bank of Khartoum Group, the largest and most prestigious financial institution in Sudan. In August 2017, the bank was granted the final operational license by the Central Bank of the UAE after fulfilling all requirements of the initial provisional license that had been granted in April 2016, achieving a significant milestone in its strategy to provide a wide range of Sharia-based innovative products and services to retail and commercial customers in this new geography.

“iMAL supports the bank’s operations across Sudan and Kingdom of Bahrain, and we have achieved successful results with this solution, being in line with the principles of Sharia law. BOK International is a new entrant in the UAE market, and we strongly believe that iMAL, a truly world-class Sharia-based banking solution will bring us tangible benefits in the way we run our business in the UAE”, commented Fadi Al Faqih, Chief Executive Officer of BOK Group.

“We are confident that iMAL will give BOK International UAE a significant edge and sustained steady growth advantage over our competitors, in the same way it is empowering us in Sudan and Kingdom of Bahrain”.

In 2009, Path Solutions was able to deploy a cutting-edge turnkey solution covering all BOK Group expansion needs across its subsidiaries, and implement a centralized architecture to serve them on a single platform.

BOK Group is thus managing rapid international expansion with iMAL Islamic Banking & Investment System, with a strand of significant achievements.

In 2016, BOK achieved 25.72% return on equity, 3.14% return on assets with a balance sheet asset size of an equivalent of US $2.5 billion. Moreover, the bank achieved a (AA-) rating for the sixth consecutive year by Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) and is considered the only Sudanese bank that has been de-listed from OFAC SDN list since April 2011.

“We are excited to be a partner in this impressive international growth by BOK Group, because it is a loud testimonial to the value we are bringing”, said Mohammed Kateeb, the Group Chairman & CEO of Path Solutions.

“New age banking with all its regulatory challenges across different countries requires industry depth and knowledge of local markets, and an advanced core banking platform. A world-class technology is vital to achieving BOK International growth objectives in the UAE. iMAL has proven its excellence in Sharia compliance, security and risk management capabilities, and the flexibility to scale the business rapidly to meet future expansion plans”, Kateeb added.

BOK Group shareholders in the UAE are leading regional Islamic and financial institutions supported by Dubai Islamic Bank, Islamic Development Bank Jeddah, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank along with many other prominent Sudanese and regional businessmen. The bank will pioneer and provide innovative Sharia-based banking products and services to the local community.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world.

So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Bitcoin Smashes Through $8,000 for the First time

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Bitcoin hit a new record high on Monday after smashing through the $8,000 level for the first time over the weekend, marking an almost 50 percent climb in just eight days.

The new high came after leading U.S. payments company Square Inc said late last week that it had started allowing select customers to buy and sell bitcoins on its Cash app.

Bitcoin traded as high as $8,197.81 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up over 2 percent on the day and around 48 percent up since dipping to $5,555 on Nov. 12.

An eye-watering eightfold increase in the value of the volatile cryptocurrency since the start of the year has led to muliple warnings that the market is in a bubble, and institutional investors are broadly staying away.

Retail investors, however, as well as some hedge funds and family offices, are piling into the market. The “market cap” of all cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high of over $242 billion on Monday, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.

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E-Financial

ePayment Stakeholders’ Seek Review of Policy on PoS to Boost Growth

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Worried by slow pace of growth in the use of Point of Sale terminal (PoS) as a means of payment in the country, stakeholders have called on Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)to review its policy direction in that ecosystem.

 

This is coming as Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed fluctuations in the figure of registered and deployed terminals between August and October this year.

 

According to a report released by NIBSS the industry Payments Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA), the number of deployed  terminals increased in August to 141, 531 and dropped to 140, 448 in September and increased again in October to 145, 350.

 

Also, same was noticed on the number of registered terminal with August recording 173, 815 and came down to 169, 318 in September while October witnessed increase to 176, 185.

 

Sarafadeen Fasasi, president, Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria, attributed this slow growth to a number of factors which includes lack of support to drive the business.

 

“Support I mean is providing financial backing for transactions on the PoS just the way ATMs are loaded with cash for withdrawals. Today, there are no facility for PoS agency business by the banks which is the major determinant of success or failure of PoS innovation,” he said.

 

He decried lack of structure on ground to resolve issues arising from PoS transactions.

 

“If customer’s account is debited without ATM paying, the individual will go to the bank and fill form for reversal, but in PoS transactions there is no such thing which has pushed customers to resolve to holding on to PoS attendant to ensure that the issue is sorted out. As at today, all issues arising from ATM, switching, PoS, online among others, are under NIBSS which does not have the capacity to coup with these issues,” he said.

 

He however, urged CBN to review her policy on PoS for it to witness the desired growth, such review he said could come in creating a unit to address issues arising from PoS transactions.

 

“If the policy is reviewed it will build trust and confidence in the use of the platform for payment. More so, PoS fixed charge is high at .075, this means that customer is charged N750 on N100,000 transaction compared to N65 charged on withdrawal outside of customer’s bank ATM,” he added.

 

Onajite Regha, executive secretary/CEO, E-Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN)said: “So far, E-PPAN in its advocacy nature has taken steps ahead to break the barrier of this poor adoption. We are looking into capturing the lower part of the pyramid with the mobile payments awareness which will see more people included financially and thereby increase the adoption of the Cashless policy.”

 

“We are also open to discussions on advocacy and sensitization from financial bodies who have products and services to render in the pursuit of the success of this policy. From time to time we carry out sensitization, financial literacy and education programme and we partner with stakeholders to expose the benefits of electronic payments to consumers across the strata”.

 

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E-Financial

Africa FinTech Foundary set to Disrupt FinTech Ecosystem

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L-R: Victor Etuokwu, Executive Director, Personal Banking, Access Bank Plc; Averi Thomas-Moore, Company Builder, Venture Lab, ACCION and Victor Okigbo, Head, Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) at a press conference to announce the maiden edition of ‘AFF Disrupt’ Conference 2017 in Lagos.

Africa FinTech Foundary, an Access bank accelerator which seeks to create new opportunities in sub-saharan Africa by providing a platform designed to inspire and challenge African innovators and entrepreneurs is set to launch with a conference on FinTech ecosystem.

The conference dubbed ‘AFF Disrupt’ is scheduled to hold on December 14, 2017 in Lagos.

Victor Etuokwu, executive director, Access bank, said that AFF will provide African companies seeking to launch their products, with capacity building and training in business development, provide connectivity to global innovation grids, promote access to capital, create opportunities for partnership as well as showcase best practices and successes in African-led innovation solution.

“Every FinTech seeks to disrupt the world through product or solution and AFF is here to disrupt. We want to do things that will drive the economy through innovative products and solutions. We are going to gather a team of investors that will help fund innovators that graduates from the accelerator programme of AFF,” he said.

Victor Okigbo, head, Africa FinTech Foundary (AFF), said that the Foundary has lined up activities preceding the main launch event which include master classes on entrepreneurship technology, enterprise design, collectively referred to as the AFF Innovation Tour, holding in four African cities this November.

He said AFF is in partnership with global technology giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Systemic Logic, Kantar TNS, SAS and Access bank as part of the AFF Disrupt programmes.

Adekele Adekoya, Event Coordinator for the AFF Disrupt conference, said that AFF seeks to create new opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa by providing a platform designed to inspire and challenge African Innovators and entrepreneurs.

“We want to engage with startups in all the locations we visit. This is a very good opportunity for startups to take advantage of the partner network created by AFF DISTRUPT and its partners to create linkages and networks that can help grow their businesses,” he said.

The vetting process is currently going on, and a total number of 12 starts-ups would be selected from a pool of about 400 start-ups, to demo at the AFF Disrupt 2017 conference holding in Lagos and also get to be part of the Africa FinTech Foundary’s 3-month accelerator programme.

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